One of the most exciting events in Pattaya, well slightly outside, is the Buffalo Racing Festival in Chonburi.
Held annually in October, the event has been taking place in some shape or form for over a century. The event has been saturated in local history and tradition, it normally takes place in October at the end of Buddhist Lent or Awk Phansa.
In past days, farmers from all over the Chonburi province would gather together at local temples to offer the monks alms and to set up markets to sell their freshly harvested produce. The farmers would bring their buffaloes, and it was then that a sort of informal racing first took place. Nowadays, from these humble beginnings, an annual two week festival has grown
Although some of the practice days are fun filled events with children and parents alike racing together, the proper racing days are taken really seriously. The proper racing buffaloes are properly trained and fed, they are primed for the race meeting and are in great physical shape.
The course is a straight 100 meters long and the whole festival site is in front of the Chonburi City Hall. On the main race day, there are various categories of racing that takes place, with each race being a test of the riders as well as the buffaloes. Riding the magnificent beasts is no easy task as it is all done bareback, just utilising just reins and a whip.
The festival is not just about buffalo racing, as with most big events in Thailand it is one big party. There is stall upon stall of food vendors, together with funfair type games, rides and amusements.
At evenings there is live music and concerts taking place for the whole family to enjoy whilst trying their luck in the games of skill. There is even a “Miss Buffalo” competition, although the title is not particularly flattering, it is actually more prestigious than it sounds. Ladies from all around the area compete for the coveted crown, and the beauty pageant is always well subscribed in terms of entrants.
For those buffaloes that are too big to race, there is even a beauty contest for them, “The Big Farm” trophy. Owners compete fiercely to show their prized beasts off and to collect the prizes up for grabs.
The Chonburi Racing Festival brings much needed revenue into the town, the local economy gets boosted by the visitors from all over Thailand that come and see the exciting spectacle and to enjoy the festival atmosphere.
It is estimated that the local economy benefits from millions of baht extra revenue, and brings people to the town that would not have normally visited.
Pattaya Events Blog Pages keep you abreast of all of Pattaya and the local area’s best events taking place, if you are visiting the eastern seaboard then keep abreast of Pattaya Events.